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Starting a New Garden From Scratch


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Starting a New Garden From Scratch

June 29, 2020

Whether you moved into a new home or you’re just ready to begin a new project, starting a new garden can be a very satisfying endeavor, from start to finish.  With a bit of planning and hard work, the benefits will provide satisfaction and excitement for years to come.

First things first.  Before making any purchases and before you start digging, you need to decide exactly what (flowers, vegetables, herbs?) and where your planting. 

Put some thought into what you want to get out of your garden.  Pops of color to brighten up your yard?  Vegetables to make your own fresh salads?  Herbs to add to your favorite dishes?  It’s important to make this decision up front so you know where to start and what is needed.  planting new garden

Once you’ve determined what your growing, you need to determine the best place to start.  If you choose to plant vegetables, you need to choose an area that will get at least 6-8 hours of full sun each day.  If your looking to plant flowers, such as impatiens or hostas, you will want and area that has partial shade.  Always research your choices or check with your local garden centers if you have any questions on plant requirements.

So, you’ve determined the plants your growing and where your growing them.  The next step is clearing the ground you’ve chosen for your new garden.  Your have options for clearing which are detailed below:

  • Most people are looking to get started with their project right away. If that’s the case, you need to put some muscle into this part of the project.  You will need to cut the sod with a spade and cut it out of the area your planning in.  Plan on cutting it into smaller sections for easier removal. 
  • If you’re planning this project months in advance, you do have another option for clearing the area. Mow the grass low as possible, then cover with sheets of newspaper and soil or compost.  After of couple of months, you will be able to easily remove the sod and be ready for planting. 

Once you’ve cleared the ground, edge your flowerbed.  By edging the flowerbed, you will be able to keep the grass from growing back into your garden.  Your can dig a trench, about 6-8 inches wide, or use landscape edging for this part of your project.

Before you begin planting, you need to ensure your soil is ready.  Adding compost or manure (if your willing and if readily available) will ensure a healthy soil that is ready for planting.  If you’re not sure what condition your soil is in, take a sample to your local garden center for testing.   They will help you determine what, if anything, needs to be added for a successful garden. 

After repairing the health of your soil, you need to “work” the soil.  You can work the soil by tilling, which involves using a rototiller, or by digging.  While tilling is often considered a more aggressive way to work your soil, diffing is often sufficient for home gardens.  You want to dig down approximately 10 inches and turn the soil over and over.  This will help mix in the compost you’ve already added.

Now that its time to start planting, consider taking one final step in preparation and adding landscape fabric to the area if planting larger plants or vegetables. (Not to be used if your starting your plants from seed).   Landscape fabric will help to keep weeds and pests out, while also help in retaining the moisture in your soil.

All your prep work is done.  Its time to plant!  Assuming you’ve already researched the plants your working with and sought advice from the garden center as needed, you ready to get started.  If you’re planting young plants, already started at a garden center, loose the root ball with your fingers or fork before setting them in the soil.  If starting from seeds, be sure to plant using the instructions for depth and spacing for maximum health and growth.

Once you’ve completed your planting, give your new garden a good watering, so as not to allow the young plants or seeds to dry out.

The final step in your garden adventure is to add mulch.  A thick layer of mulch will not just help to keep weeds at bay and retain much needed moisture, it will help keep your soil healthy as the mulch decomposes. 

Your garden is in!  Now its time to simply keep up with the maintenance by watering on a regular basis, deadheading and weeding as needed to ensure healthy plants that flourish in their new space!


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